I have been home for a few days now. Tricia and the kids met me at the airport around midnight. It was a joyous reunion that was just a little overdue. Amazingly the kids went to school and continued their activities the next day. There was a nice banner on display in the house welcoming me back home.
Our trip to home was even more circuitous as time went by. Due to a heavy snowstorm in Baltimore, our transatlantic flight diverted to JFK airport in New York. We had a night in a hotel nearby and completed our journey to Baltimore the next day. Eleven hours after that and two additional flights later I landed at the nearest airport to our home. I was struck time and time again at how many people would stop and go out of their way to thank us for our service in the airport. It was a humbling experience.
Now that I am home and have started the process of packing away my gear and reintegrating with normal society I have had a little time to reflect on this long journey. I have learned a great many things during this past year. Travel always allows for that. Ours is an incredibly blessed country with a sound government and incredible natural resources. Afghanistan is a country plagued by decades of war with few natural resources other than the hard work of its very poor population. It is altogether right that we along with our Coalition partners do all that we can to allow the new government of Afghanistan to succeed, for the betterment of the people of Afghanistan. I am satisfied with the small but measurable accomplishments I have been a part of in Afghanistan. I hope that the people of Afghanistan will be better off in the long run for my efforts there.
I have also learned a great deal of personal things. In many ways my seven months in Afghanistan was like a seven month self improvement retreat. I was able to exercise regularly. Through study and worship I have attained a closer walk with God. I was able to learn some Dari, customs, and another different perspective of the world. Although time and distance are significant challenges, I think the last year has actually strengthened the bonds and commitment of several of my important relationships. The time I spent deployed also allowed me to firmly establish my priorities in life. Priorities I intend to not only list, but live from this point onwards.
With that in mind, this will be my last blog entry for this journey. Originally this enterprise was established as an effective way to reach and inform my family, friends, and co-workers en masse. With the outpouring of feedback and dialogue from those of you who have written emails, sent letters, packages, and provided support to me and my dear family it has transcended beyond the original intent of this project. Thank you so much for your support and dedication during this trying year.
I have enjoyed writing these entries over the past year. Truth be told, it was very therapeutic at times. I certainly learned more about specific aspects of Afghanistan with my limited research into various topics. Each time I sat at the MWR computers at Camp Spann it was almost like writing a timed short story, since we are limited to 30 minutes of time per session. It also gave me a sense of the passage of time and another scheduled task to perform which kept me sane. Nonetheless, it is time for this forum to be retired so that I can invest my time into the priorities to which I am dedicated.
While it is entirely possible that there may be another adventure to report in the coming years, since I do still wear the uniform of our country, I bid you farewell and thank you for travelling with me.